I Agree With Paywalls…But To Some Extent

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I’ve been reading a few of my previous posts and noticed that I never really explained my opinion of paywalls.

Last semester, I learned a lot about paywalls in a few of my journalism classes. I like to think that I’ve mastered the difference between what defines a loyal reader to an occasional reader. One of my classes in particular, really went in detail about paywalls which gave me the chance to learn and understand the hardship many papers go through to make a profit for the work that is on its website.

So with that said, here is my thoughts of paywalls:

I agree with paywalls, but to some extent. I think it really depends on the paper, its content and online presence, and its readers.

When I first heard about paywalls, I thought to myself…how can you charge a person to read information that is online? Everything online is free!

Right now, I am a college student who barely worked last semester, yet my car somehow always needed gas. This may seem a little irrelevant to my topic but I’m trying to make a point about how every penny tends to count when your in school.

For the last two semesters, it was a requirement for at least one of my journalism classes to have a paid subscription to The Times. It use to annoy me to have to get a paid subscription to a paper I barely read, when I could access the information online for free. Luckily, I had put that minor cost under my textbook bill for my parents, so my car did not suffer too much. But it was still the thought of paying for information that I could find free else where. I always thought “why would I pay for access to a paper when I can simply Google the topic and find it on another website for free.”

That was my mindset before I transferred colleges. When I got into Stony Brook University, my journalism classes opened my mind to paywalls and the ignorance that once filled my mind was gone. Now I have a better opinion on the topic.

For physical newspapers that are making the transition to online:

It really makes sense to have paywalls. What is the difference between me picking up The Times at a newsstand and me looking at the day’s paper online? There is no difference, except my health. I can read the paper from my phone or laptop while I’m in bed, instead of running down the block to the newsstand.

For non-traditional papers, that started online:

In general, a paywall is a win or lose situation for both papers, whether it is legacy or not. (NOTE: a legacy paper is a newspaper that has been around and established before the internet)

If an online paper has been giving me free information for years, why should I start to pay for it now? It was founded online and never had print editions to pay for in the first place.

That is when a paywall needs to be tested. Paywalls will not work for every paper, whether a legacy paper or a paper that was founded primarily online and has no print editions.

I’ve read about popular papers that just dove into paywalls and it was not a success, but then again, I have read about popular papers that did the same and it was a success.

Now, papers in general are just testing the idea of paywalls out in different regions and playing with different prices to see what works.

In the end, it truly depends on the paper and what the reader considers valuable news. One will always pay for something that is worth it.

Having a better understanding of paywalls, I personally believe that paying a monthly or yearly fee for information from legitimate papers only means that you are getting accurate and fair – most of the time – news. It may seem unfair to pay for information, but one most always think about the people getting the information and putting it together for us to read; they definitely do not do it for free, so why not pay for services in that case.

As for me, I think it is safe to say that I am a little more open minded about paywalls. Which is great, because I know that when I get out of college, I’ll have no problem paying for a subscription to a few papers. But for now, I’ll stick to broadcast and monitor my limit of articles I read per month!

POLITICO TEST ITS FAITH WITH PAYWALLS!

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The go to site for all political news will be joining the bandwagon in testing the faith of metered paywalls. According to an article on the website, for the next six months, Politico will be testing a metered paywall on readers. The site will be playing with different prices while checking to see how effective the paywall will actually be. The test will be conducted in: Iowa, North Dakota, Vermont, Mississippi, New Mexico and Wyoming, and internationally.

I read the memo Politico sent out to its staff with the reason for the paywall. The company stated that the point of the experiment is to test their “readers’ willingness to pay for our journalism.” Then, the company made the point that one day, very soon all media companies will charge for its content and that basically Politico is just to testing the waters a little earlier.

When I read the first two paragraphs of the memo, I thought it was a load of PR crap and said to myself, “okay first you were iffy about getting this paywall and now that you see how successful it has been and you want to do, just say it!” But as I kept reading, I sensed some type of sincerity in the memo.

As I finished reading the entire memo, I saw that I really liked what Politico’s motive was for trying the paywall. I personally think that paywalls are a great idea for CERTAIN papers and I like that Politico is trying it out to see if it will fit. I like that the company has other ideas and are exploring and thinking of ways to make money outside of advertising. I also like the facts that were put into the memo. Apparently over 300 media companies are already doing paywalls, some have seen success while others have seen failure.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2013/05/politico-to-test-metered-subscription-system-163597.html

UPDATE ON HUFFPOST – JAPAN!

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Not too long ago, the Huffington Post launched a Japan edition, adding on to its quickly growing editions around the world.

I blogged about this recently but I just read an update on the new edition.

The HuffPost launched its Japan edition in collaboration with a daily newspaper called Asahi Shimbun – which is the second largest paper in the country. The newspaper reaches more than seven million readers daily! The collaboration came in hopes that with the newspaper’s popularity along with the HuffPost brand and model, the paper would be able to appeal to the younger generation and the Japanese who have lost faith in their media. The chief executive of the HuffPost mentioned that the new site will give a generation who wants to be heard a chance to join and be a part of the conversation.

I think that this step is a good idea. People, no matter the country or culture, always want to be heard – that’s why blogs have become so popular. The combination of the country’s most popular newspaper plus the HuffPost strong online presence in allowing readers to join in the conversation will be great!

I’m really looking forward to seeing the effects of this collaboration. I hope that it will be successful and actually works for the point that the paper wants it too. Everyone should have a chance to voice his or her opinion about the news and what better place to give this other than online, to a community of millions.

http://www.journalism.co.uk/news/huffpo-launches-japanese-edition-with-asahi-shimbun/s2/a552884/

Donald Trump’s New “Venture” in the Crowdsourcing Department…

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He’s name is on buildings, in hotels and casinos, on clothes and now on FundAnything?

Donald Trump has put his face on a website and said “I’m Giving Away MONEY!”

Publicity stunt or reality?

I think it’s both.

Trump’s money has found its way to a new crowdsourcing website called FundAnything.com, which was created by Bill Zanker and two other entrepreneurs. Zanker is the creator of The Learning Annex, an adult education company where Trump is a featured lecturer.

According to a spokesperson for the site, despite what many may think, Trump is really giving away money. But to three campaigns of his choice that were already on the website.

Trump will be giving away the money in three suitcases full of cash and has called for a press conference on the day he plans on giving away the cash. I think that FundAnything may be as popular (by word of mouth) as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

But just because people know the name, does it mean that the company will get a lot of users? Who knows? Only time will tell.

I think that eventually it will gain users because of the publicity, but will have a long way to go before it is as popular (by people using the site) as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. For one, as a user, it is a little more costly to use the new site. If a campaign is not fully funded on the site, then a nine percent total deduction will go to FundAnything. Fully funded campaigns will only see a five percent deduction. On Indiegogo, which is a pretty popular site, it collects the same nine percent commission off campaigns not fully funded but only collects a four percent profit on campaigns completed.

Kickstarter is just naturally different. It’s as popular or maybe even more popular due to the recent campaign of the Veronica Mars Movie on the site, which gave it a lot of publicity and probably fully introduced crowdsourcing to those who did not know anything about the new trend. Kickstarter is different in the sense that it does not give a campaign any money unless it reaches its goal. If it reaches it, then the site will charge a five percent fee.

All and all, I think that FundAnything has a long way to go, unless it can prove to users right now that the site has a lot of donors. Think about it, why would a user waste his or her time to campaign on this brand new site, when they can go to Indiegogo. It probably has more donors because it is a veteran site. A user may feel that he/she has a better chance of getting fully funded on the Indiegogo than on FundAnything and may take the chance on Indiegogo.

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20130507/TECHNOLOGY/130509901

WILL PAY-TV DISTRIBUTORS FEEL THE RAFT OF BROADCASTERS?

If pay-tv companies like Direct TV, Dish, and Comcast have not felt the raft of the broadcasters, they will soon.

This is a little dramatic, but sooner or later, cable networks may be seeing higher increases in content fees. Why? Because according to a Wall Street Journal article, broadcast networks have been relying on cable networks as a source of income for so long, that there is a fear that the networks might be increasing its profits.

The problem is that if cable networks have to keep paying high retransmission fees to broadcast networks, then there only source of revenue is going to keep decreasing. Especially since the cable networks are not seeing a high increase in subscriptions.

I am really interested to see how this will impact the industry later on.

Aggregators are Taking Over!

And to think that the Huffington Post was this popular outside of the U.S.?

In an effort to expand throughout the world, the Huffington Post will now be able to add Japan to its list of countries it services. The launch is expected this Tuesday.

The Huffington Post has been expanding over the years, adding countries like Canada, Italy, the U.K., France and Germany to its list of countries to service.

I am still a little iffy about aggregated news sites. I think the concept of getting news from various places is great. News sites like Google News and Huffington Post news makes life a little easier for people like me. If I want to get news quickly, I can simply Google it.

But justice is justice! I am completely aware that the Huffington Post and Google are not literally drafting the articles. Personally for me, most of the times, I am clicking to read the full story so I can say that I am giving credit to the news sites. But many people do not, they just read the summary and move on with their lives. Which I think is what really bothers online news sites so much about aggregated news sites.

http://www.beet.tv/2013/05/huffingtonjapan.html

Aereo Calls Bluff on Fox and CBS

Looks like Aereo has complete faith that broadcast networks like Fox and CBS will not pull its broadcast signals off the air.

The startup company is confident that the networks will stay on the air because of the billions of dollars in ad revenue the networks will be giving up. Apparently, broadcast advertising undermines cable advertising because the audiences are bigger. Also, the idea of broadcast moving to cable is a move that would have to be approved by Congress.

So why would the broadcast networks want to pull its programming off the air? Simply because of Aereo.

Just a refresher, Aereo is a startup company that shows live streaming of shows online. The problem is that the company is not paying the retransmission fees other TV providers are paying. So it is virtually stealing programing and playing it online without the broadcasters permission. Currently the issue is in court.

CBS came to the defense of the statement Aereo made about losing billions in ad revenue saying,

“’More than 85 percent of our viewers already receive their signal from a pay-TV service, Ender said yesterday in an e- mailed response to Kanojia’s remarks. ‘CBS could serve the remaining 15 percent in a variety of legitimate ways. We don’t believe it’s going to come to that in any event.’”

At first I thought the broadcast networks may have been bluffing, but I think that the networks are just feed up. The idea of a startup winning one over on the networks is just a crazy thought. I have no doubt in what these broadcast companies can do or will do, but I don’t believe it will get that far. The companies are really going to have to go through many obstacles to have the chance to switch to cable, especially being that the networks are a vital importance to our society today in entertaining and informing viewers at a next to nothing cost for people without cable.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-02/aereo-calls-networks-bluff-challenging-them-to-go-cable.html